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Archive for the ‘Green issues’ Category

For those of you not familiar with the ASSA Climate Action Network (ASSA CAN), it is an innovative way to collectively reduce our domestic energy use through an increase in energy efficiency and the the use of renewables. The best thing about it is that it it will cost you nothing because the money you save on your energy bill is used to finance the home improvements over time.

Our original intention was to coordinate a group of commercial partners to carry out the individual home energy assessments, install the insulation and new boilers etc, finance it over a number of years and provide dedicated support. At the last ASSA meeting we reviewed three options for commercial partners. Two options would have involved a lot of organisational work and carried some unknown risks. However as luck would have it, British Gas New Energy, our third option, have been thinking along the same lines as us and are looking to trial just such an idea.They will provide each element of the service and you don’t even need to be a customer of theirs.

Over the next few weeks we will be working with British Gas to develop the service before launching in Jan/Feb 2009. Please give Chris Morrison a call (07971 198555) if you are interested in taking part or would just like to find our more.

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I went to Brixton’s ‘Great Unleashing’ last week – don’t worry its not a cue to run for cover… It is the launch of Transition Town Brixton. It was a huge success with a packed town hall of people from Brixton and the surrounds wanting to make a difference and starting at home.

Put simply, the idea is that we are currently living at an unsustainable rate in a world with finite resources. Somethings got to give. We can start by making our communities self-sustainable (its actually based on the concept of peak oil which I won’t go into here but is fascinating and if you want to find out more look it up on Wikipedia!). It has been done with great success in Devon. Brixton is the first urban Transition Town.

The Transition Town will develop as a loose coalition of different groups doing things around domestic energy reduction and renewable energy, transport, finance, stronger communities and home grown food. I particularly liked this last point.

This group use the gardens that are not used and to grow vegetables and then share some of the produce with the resident at harvest time.  How many gardens are unused in our neighbourhood? Particularly the gardens of some of the flats. The network is called Food Up Front is this something we want to sign-up to?

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The need for better home energy

As residents in the Albert Square, St Stephens Terrace, Aldebert Terrace and Wilkinson Street, you will be only too aware of the energy inefficiency of old houses and their large carbon footprint. There are myriad ways to make our homes more energy efficient and reduce our emissions; ranging from home improvements to renewable energy to simple behavioural changes. But there are often confusing messages about what we should and shouldn’t do and solutions can be costly.

A new approach to domestic energy

The ASSA Climate Action Network takes a new holistic approach to the energy you and your home need. Instead of selling you units of electricity and cubic feet of gas – your energy supply – we we are setting up a community programme, in partnership with a major utility and a specialist home energy company, that will help you look at your energy demand and ways in which you can reduce it and generate your own energy with renewables. It is often much cheaper to reduce your demand through things like insulation and more efficient appliances than it is to buy more gas or electricity, especially with today’s rising prices.

What will it mean to me?

If you sign up to the scheme later this year, you will receive a free energy audit on your home by qualified engineers. On the basis of that audit you will be offered a range of energy improvement options such as insulation, new lightbulbs, draught proofing, a new boiler or new appliances and options to generate your own energy. Once you have chosen the options you want, you will sign up to a new, fixed energy contract that will include your bills and repayments on any new equipment (or alternatively you can pay upfront and get a discount on equipment prices).

What are the benefits to me?

By setting up a network and working with dedicated commercial partners, we can offer the following advantages:

  • You will have a lower monthly energy bill and be better protected from rising prices.
  • The energy auditors, equipment providers, power company and bank all achieve economies of scale which are passed on to you
  • We can access significant community grants to subsidise energy efficiency and renewables
  • With the commercial partners, we take on the research and administrative work, offering you a choice of the best solutions for your home.

Want to know more?

Or contact Chris Morrison on 07971 198555

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ASSA has entered the Big Green Challenge competition with the object of reducing the CO2 emissions of the community by 60% in an innovative, scalable and replicable way. We are already down to the last 100 in the competition and will find out in July if we have made it to last ten and get our project implemented. We will be giving a presentation at the AGM.

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